Knott Street Dermatology provides treatment for skin cancers. Our clinics in NE Portland and Milwaukie tend to patients’ needs and offer a variety of procedures including topical chemotherapy and cryotherapy or cryosurgery. Our goal is to select the best treatment option for individual skin cancer situations while educating patients on all the reasonable choices.
Knott Street Dermatology’s topical chemotherapy utilizes anti-cancer medication that is put directly on the skin, usually as a cream or ointment. This differs from standard chemotherapy medication that is given by mouth or injected into a vein.
For topical treatment of actinic keratoses and some basal and squamous cell skin cancers, 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) is often used. It is usually applied to the skin once or twice-a-day for several weeks.
When applied directly to the skin, topical chemotherapy medication kills tumor cells on or near the surface of the skin, though it cannot reach cells deeper within the skin or those that have spread to other organs. This is why topical medication such as 5-FU is typically used for precancerous conditions such as actinic keratosis and superficial skin cancers
As the medication is applied to the skin, it doesn’t spread throughout the body and lacks the side effects of systemic chemotherapy. Still, it reddens treated skin and makes it very sensitive for several weeks. Other topical medication can help relieve this. Anti-cancer topical medication can also make the skin sensitive to light, so adequate protection must be taken.
Cryosurgery or Cryotherapy
Cryotherapy is often used for precancerous conditions like actinic keratosis or small basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, as well as warts.
Sometimes called cryotherapy, it is not a surgical procedure that involves cutting of the skin. Rather, it is the use of extreme cold produced by liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy abnormal tissue. The liquid nitrogen can be applied directly to the skin with a spraying device or a cotton swab.
This process is repeated several times in the same clinic visit. After the affected area of skin thaws, it will swell, blister and crust. The wound may have fluid draining from it for a period of time and take a month or two to heal, leaving behind a scar and possible discoloration after treatment. Mild blistering and tenderness are also expected results and part of the normal process for destruction of abnormal tissue.
Got questions or concerns about medical skin conditions and procedures? Interested in treatment? Reach out to Knott Street Dermatology for a consultation. Knott Street Dermatology treats patients in and around Portland including Happy Valley, Clackamas, Gladstone, Damascus, Gresham, and Fairview.